AUGUSTA — The Erskine Academy boys basketball team accomplished a lot this season, but near-perfect and top-seeded Hampden proved too difficult a task.

Christian McCue scored a team-high 17 points, including seven in the fourth quarter, to carry the Broncos past the Eagles 53-38 in an Eastern A quarterfinal Saturday night.

“We did the best we could,” Erskine coach Ben Willoughby said. “We had a good game plan, but their big players made big shots.”

Fred Knight, a 6-foot-7 center, scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Hampden (18-1).

Erskine junior guard Devin Duncan led all scorers with 20 points, including three 3-pointers. Tom Grady added nine points for Erskine.

“We struggled a little bit shooting, but Hampden’s defense limited us to take tough shots,” Willoughby said. “But Duncan hit some big shots for us.”

Hampden (18-1) will next play No. 5 Bangor (14-5) in the semifinals at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Bangor bounced No. 4 Lawrence from the tournament with a 48-31 victory.

The Eagles never really let Hampden run away with it, but they never could pull into a lead, either. Erskine trailed just 39-33 with 6:22 left in the fourth quarter when Duncan hit his third 3-pointer of the night.

But the Broncos answered with a McCue basket off penetration and a Zach Gilpen 3-pointer, and again the lead stretched into double digits.

Gilpen finished with 10 points.

“We hung in there,” Willoughby said. “We cut it to six, but McCue made some big plays.”

Despite the loss, the season marked quite a turnaround for Erskine.

The Eagles, after finishing with just two victories last season, first earned a postseason berth and then a trip to the big stage in Augusta after dispatching Cony in a prelim game.

“The last third of our season our seniors really stepped up and got us here,” Willioughby said. “We had a great season.”

The Eagles hung around for much of the first half giving away a few inches to the taller Broncos.

Erskine never led but it trailed just 19-15 with 3:21 left in the second quarter after Tyler Scates sank a pair of free throws.

However, the Broncos closed the half on a 9-3 run to take a 28-18 into the locker rooms.

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]

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